Somehow all that free love, sleekly designed furniture and middle-class socialism has blinded me to the fact that Sweden had a Nazi-past of its own. A few passages in Tony Judt’s Post War clued me in to Sweden’s flirtation (if that’s quite the word) with eugenics. Now The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo comes along and tells me about the Swedish Nazi party, unrepentant Nazis and neo-Nazis.
Despite this book being everywhere I didn’t know that much about it before it was picked for my office book club and after that my policy is not to read anything about the book, even a review before forming my own opinion. All I knew was that it was Swedish, featured a female hacker and was all the rage. So the serial killer thing came as a surprise. An unpleasant surprise. I don’t like serial killer books. I don’t find serial killers, real or fictional, to be all that fascinating.
Larsson wrote a satisfyingly twisty mystery. Maybe I’m the only one who enjoyed the scenes of Blomkvist adjusting to life in the frozen north more than the descriptions of the serial killings. To be fair, Larsson doesn’t fetishize the serial killer material and that’s a relief. My only real quarrel with the book, aside from the serial killer part (and that’s a pretty big aside considering it features two of them) is that hero Michael Blomkvist can’t open his front door without women wanting a go with his man parts. Ok, maybe in the aforementioned frozen north where one’s pickings are slim this might happen but I’m guessing that in Stockholm a girl has more options. Whatever, it’s a minor quibble.